A Co. Cavan farmer has said that only for his wife he would not have survived being attacked by a cow in his yard.

Peter Duffy has been farming for his whole life on the family lands in Mullagh. The 63-year-old and his wife, Jenny, currently have a suckler herd with a Hereford bull.

The couple were at home yesterday evening (Tuesday, March 1) when they noticed that one of their cows had calved on the slatted unit before it could be moved to the calving pen.

“For the safety for the calf, so its hooves wouldn’t get caught on the slats, I just said that I’d go in and move the cow and calf out. She was quiet up to that,” Peter told Agriland.

Cow attack

“I just turned my back to speak to Jenny for a second and the next thing Jenny shouted at me. The cow came with her head down and hit me just at the back of the ribs and knocked me against the barrier,” he said.

“She was thumping me and getting more violent. I was trying to beat her back with my hands and feet.

“She started to paw me like you would see a bull doing in the field with her two front legs on my body. I kept trying to beat her back but she was overpowering me.”

Duffy explained there was then a break in the attack due to the efforts of his wife who was standing on the feed barrier.

“I could hear Jenny shouting alright. She was beating her back and that’s why she didn’t actually kill me altogether.”

However, Peter’s ordeal was not over yet as the cow again became aggressive towards him.

“She bent down and put the whole flat of her face down on my stomach and ribs. She was pounding me out of it,” he added.

Peter continued to fight off the cow and managed to push himself on his back to the door of the shed, where he made it to safety.


The farmer, who has been left with sore ribs and swollen hands and legs, said that only for his wife he would not be here today. The couple has been left in shock by the incident.

“She [the cow] just turned just like a blast of wind. In my mind, she wanted to save her calf. She took an instant liking to the calf and didn’t want anyone near her. She meant to finish me,” said Peter.

“I often went in for an odd cow like that, but I never saw a cow that just took off like that.”

Peter said that he hoped sharing his story would encourage all farmers to be conscious of their safety around freshly calved cows.

“The one thing I will say is, don’t ever turn your back and don’t ever go in unless somebody is there and you have a way to get out,” he added.